UCL Urban Laboratory


Housing, Manufacturing, Water - for the Urban Poor

Assessing what forms of urban production are emerging, whose interests are actually being expressed and in which ways knowledge is produced has become a challenge for understanding urban complexity. To address these issues there is a need for more diversity in the major strands of knowledge production, including the plurality of research frameworks (de Sousa Santos, Arriscado Nunes, Meneses 2006; Roy 2009). To meet these challenges, an interdisciplinary and international collaborative action research and teaching project was undertaken from 2009 to 2014 towards understanding the challenges of housing production for the urban poor in the growing urban contexts of the global south. Since its inception, the group persuade the integration of multidisciplinary knowledge fields from Urban Design, Planning, Manufacturing and Water engineering by means of yearly common learning projects and research workshops. This paper presents the work of the project to questions such as:

(1) What challenges do trends in global urban theory and in global urban development pose for contemporary urban educational practice, in particular related to housing when discussed from an interdisciplinary working group. With the dramatically changing social, economic and physical patterns housing conditions are becoming one of the key factors shaping the lives of billions of people around the world. The experience in the past decades has shown that mono-disciplinary approaches fall short of effectively contributing to reflections on complex housing problems. Therefore, it seemed expedient to develop cross-sector projects bringing together the expertise of different disciplines and sectors into the project (i.e.. academia, local and national government institutions, universities, and NGOs as well as the private sector). 

(2) What potential is there for urban knowledge to be co-created amongst different international institutions and across different regions through collaborative pedagogic practices? Based on the observation that knowledge creation on whatever level is hampered usually by a lack of integration into concrete project planning and implementation, the project intended to combine learning with project work in what can be labelled as 'learning projects' among the cross-sector group. This approach through its orientation towards 'solutions' goes beyond the narrow concept of the accumulation of theoretical knowledge to hands-on practical knowledge projects.

15 minute paper by Miriam de Magdala Pinto (Federal University of Espirito Santo, Vitória, Brazil), Rupali Gupte (Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture, Mumbai), Paola Alfaro d'Alençon (Technische Universität Berlin), Renato D'Alençon Castrillón (Technische Universität Berlin).

Session two (parallel panel two): 14.00 - 16.00, Thursday 17 September, Darwin Building B12/B15. 


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